Paringa Resources is taking the rare step of building a new coal mine in the U.S., as the Trump administration rolls back regulations on the struggling industry.
The coal company is building a coal mine in Kentucky and expects to begin producing coal in mid-2018. It will construct another mine that’s scheduled to be in action by early 2019.
In an interview with Maria Bartiromo on the FOX Business Network’s “Mornings with Maria,” CEO Grant Quasha said President Donald Trump pushed the project over the goal line.
“All we had to do was raise the money,” he said. “On the back of the Trump administration coming into the Oval Office and ending the war on coal, we were able to successfully raise approximately $40 million worth of financing in the Australian equity markets to help build out this mine.”
The Poplar Grove Mine will produce nearly 3 million tons of thermal coal for a local power utility. The Cypress Mine will provide an estimated 3.8 million tons following its construction, according to Paringa. The mines are located in the Illinois Basin, a coal-producing basin that stretches across parts of Indiana and Kentucky.
Paringa is hiring 200 people over the next 12 months to support Poplar Grove. Quasha said the company plans to hire another 300 people for its second mine.
Coal production in the U.S. has decline in recent years under pressure from new regulations imposed by the Obama administration and low prices for natural gas. Paringa is betting on a turnaround. Quasha believes natural gas, which is trading around $3 per million British thermal units, will rise to $4. He also sees international demand improving through 2030.
“While the U.S. coal industry is in a secular decline, I do think it is still going to be a very important part of our energy infrastructure going forward, and we’re going to play a critical role as part of that,” he said.
Quasha also expects the coal industry to continue reaping the benefits of President Trump’s regulatory reform for years to come. By rescinding coal rules through the Congressional Review Act, future administrations must go through Congress to seek a renewal of Obama-era regulations.